AccessNI registered bodies

Only registered bodies are authorised to send standard and enhanced checks to AccessNI. Some registered bodies are also umbrella bodies. They are allowed to manage AccessNI standard and enhanced checks for employers who aren’t registered bodies.

Becoming a registered body

When an organisation applies to become a registered body, AccessNI checks:

  • they are likely to send more than 20 standard or enhanced check applications every year
  • they are a legitimate organisation entitled to ask an exempted question under the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Exceptions) Order (Northern Ireland) 1979
  • they will follow AccessNI’s code of practice

AccessNI can impose penalties on a registered body that breaks the conditions of registration.

The application to become a registered body must be completed by a suitable person in the organisation. This person will be the lead signatory. They must be over 18 and must never have been removed from AccessNI register. They will also be checked for any criminal record.

The lead signatory can appoint counter signatories. Only approved signatories are authorised to manage the registered body’s disclosure process. They make applications for checks and receive disclosure certificates.

Apply to become a registered body

Apply by logging in to your nidirect account. If you don't have an account, you need to register.

Apply to become a counter signatory

You must be invited by an AccessNI-registered body to become a counter signatory. You will need to create a new and unique account to apply.

Log in to access your registered body homepage

If you applied online to become a registered body, you can log in to your homepage. You will be able to:

Training for registered bodies

Signatories should go to training about processing applications for criminal record checks. The training course covers:

  • eligibility of disclosures
  • the disclosure process
  • code of practice
  • ID checking
  • filtering
  • disputes
  • future developments

A training course lasts about two and a half hours. You can ask questions during training. To book a place on a training course, go to:

Best practice for registered bodies

To make sure that registered bodies follow best practice, AccessNI has a code of practice and sample policy statements.

Code of practice for registered bodies

To protect information about applicants, registered bodies must follow AccessNI’s code of practice. The code makes sure information released in standard and enhanced checks is:

  • used fairly
  • handled and stored appropriately
  • kept for only as long as is necessary but not more than six months

AccessNI audits registered bodies to make sure of satisfactory compliance with the code of practice. AccessNI can deregister a lead or counter signatory in a registered body that doesn’t keep to AccessNI’s code of practice on information security.  

Registered bodies don't automatically receive a copy of the applicant’s certificate. Registered bodies will need applicants to provide their certificates when:

  • the certificate includes criminal history or other information
  • the application for the certificate was not made online

If your organisation needs to ask an applicant to provide their certificate, read a sample request letter:

Information provided in this way should be treated in line with AccessNI’s code of practice.

Policy statement for registered bodies

To reassure people undergoing AccessNI checks, registered bodies must also sign and keep a policy statement which confirms they meet AccessNI’s code of practice.

AccessNI audits registered bodies to make sure they keep accurate, signed security and policy statements.

Employers who receive disclosure certificates must follow data protection rules.

Paying for disclosures

A registered body must pay for AccessNI checks on account. AccessNI issues a monthly invoice for a registered body’s completed checks during that period.

AccessNI can review the registration status of an organisation that doesn’t pay within 30 days. AccessNI can cancel an organisation’s registration for unpaid invoices.

When an employer changes AccessNI registration details

A registered body is responsible for keeping their account details accurate. To make changes they should log into their online account.  This includes changes to:

  • name
  • address
  • website
  • contact number

Umbrella bodies

If an employer needs less than 20 checks in a year, they can use an umbrella body to make applications to AccessNI. Most umbrella bodies charge fees for their services.

An umbrella body is a registered body that manages standard and enhanced checks for non-registered organisations. 

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